On Friday, Buzzfeed published an article by Jessica Testa, Tyler Kingkade and Jay Edidin exposing the inaction DC Comics have taken on allegations against DC group editor Eddie Berganza. This is something that has been an open “secret” in comic circles for several years. To illustrate this point, our own coverage of the matter, which mostly consisted of linking to coverage on other comics blogs or first-hand testimony, began in April 2016.
DC and its Human Resources managers promoted him, even after allegations of his misconduct were brought to them, and then demoted him back to his previous position when those allegations were published in the comic book press. They also prevented him from attending conventions and for a time did not assign women to work in the department that he oversaw. This is a policy that seems to have ended, with multiple women now working in the Superman offices where Berganza is the group editor. As none of the women who brought the complaint against him to HR in 2010—seven years ago—remain at the company, and as Liz Marsham recalls relating to HR that she could never recommend a female employee being placed professionally with Berganza, perhaps this is less an actual policy change than simply an aging out of protective advice from a survivor.
The news published by Buzzfeed was picked up by several other outlets, including a front page article in the New York Daily News. This news comes at a very inconvenient time for DC, as the first Justice League movie is set to release next weekend. Actress Gal Gadot, starring in that film as Wonder Woman, has been reported as gambling her own continuing employment as the character against the removal of Brett Ratner, an abusive entertainment professional attached to future Wonder Woman projects. Will Warner Bros, parent company of DC, get the hint?
The combination of Buzzfeed’s article, the climate of change following Ronan Farrow’s breaking report on the many sexual abuses perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein, and the release period of Justice League has caused DC to finally act on the allegations in a way they should have when a first allegation surfaced. DC has issued the following statement:
DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics. There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared. DC continues to be extremely committed to creating a safe and secure working environment for our employees and everyone involved in the creation of our comic books.
While suspending Eddie Berganza and removing him as a group editor is a well needed and long overdue first step, the culture and individuals that shielded him and kept him safely employed at the company while women were denied opportunities and pushed out needs to be addressed. There is no place for harassment in the industry, and anyone who turns a blind eye or encouraging hand to it should be removed along with the perpetrators.
Women Write About Comics extend our gratitude and condolences to the women who experienced this workplace abuse, those who spoke to Buzzfeed and in public or private before that, and to those journalists whose tireless efforts led to the publication of these events in a location of appropriate social clout. Hats off to you.